New inscriptions from two different sites have reopened the debate about the meaning of asherah, a term often used in the Bible. Is it—or she—a goddess? Is it a holy place? Or perhaps a sacred tree? Or a pole? Or possibly a grove of trees? All these suggestions have been proposed at one time or another by scholars.
The question is especially intriguing because, as a result of these new inscriptions, the inquiry now arises in connection with the sacred unpronounceable name of Israel’s God, usually written YHWH, or Yahweh.a Whatever an asherah is, Yahweh had one!